U.S. General: Space Is Where Russia and China Are Most Dangerous

U.S. General: Space Is Where Russia and China Are Most Dangerous

David Axe

Security,

The greatest threat that Russia and China pose to the United States is in space, Gen. David Goldfein, the U.S. Air Force’s chief of staff, said at an event in California in early December 2019.

The greatest threat that Russia and China pose to the United States is in space, Gen. David Goldfein, the U.S. Air Force’s chief of staff, said at an event in California in early December 2019.

“Russia is a rather dangerous threat because it’s an economy in decline and the demographics are challenging for [Vladimir Putin],” Goldfein said, according to Defense News. “But China is the face of the threat. China has the economy.”

Goldfein’s assessment comes as U.S. lawmakers prepare to authorize a new military service for space warfare.

In addition to ground-based jammers, lasers and rockets that can mute, blind and destroy low-flying satellites, Moscow and Beijing are working on small, maneuverable satellites that can tamper with American spacecraft.

“Our adversaries are increasingly leveraging rapid advances in technology to pose new and evolving threats — particularly in the realm of space, cyberspace, computing and other emerging, disruptive technologies,” the U.S. intelligence community concluded in its 2019 strategy report.

“No longer a solely U.S. domain, the democratization of space poses significant challenges for the United States and the I.C.,” the report explained. Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons could “reduce U.S. military effectiveness and overall security.”

Between 2013 and 2015, the Russian government launched several mysterious satellites into low orbit. Zipping across orbital planes hundreds of thousands of feet above Earth, the nimble little Kosmos-2491, -2499 and -2504 spacecraft — which apparently were the size of mini-refrigerators — were able to approach within just a few feet of other satellites.

“You can probably equip them with lasers, maybe put some explosives on them,” Anatoly Zak, a space historian, said of the Kosmos triplets. “If [one] comes very close to some military satellite, it probably can do some harm.”

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